“he (Zechariah) was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense…..the angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard…..” (Lu.1:9,10,13)

I love Christmas because it is so full of hope and the fulfillment of centuries of prayers based on God’s promises.  At the beginning of Luke’s account of the Christmas story, we are told how Zechariah and Elizabeth had longed and prayed for a child and how finally, in the House of Prayer, as incense, that represented the prayers of the people, was offered up, God said their prayer for a son, and the prayers of those in Israel that longed for the Messiah to come, were answered. We still live in dark times, and we still need the Messiah to come into our families, churches and communities. And He is eager to come in answer to our prayers. John was born as the angel said and he was used by God to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He preached a message of repentance that turned “the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous” (Lu.1:17) so that when Jesus came, they were ready to believe in Him. Let’s press into God for those kinds of things with that kind of prayer this Christmas season and in the New Year.

Pastor Ken Roth (December 14, 201